Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) – Take Test Now

Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ)

The Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) is a self-assessment tool designed to measure the degree to which an adult individual exhibits traits associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Developed by Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, the AQ is widely used in research and clinical settings to screen for autistic traits in adults of average or above-average intelligence.


  • 0-25: Low likelihood of autism spectrum traits. (Individuals scoring in this range typically do not exhibit many behaviors associated with autism.)
  • 26-32: Some autism spectrum traits. (Individuals may display some behaviors commonly seen in autism but not to a degree that suggests a diagnosis. )
  • 33-50: Strong likelihood of autism spectrum traits. (Scores in this range indicate a higher presence of behaviors and preferences associated with autism spectrum conditions. )


The primary purpose of the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) is to assess the level of autistic traits in adults. It is not a diagnostic tool for ASD but rather an indicator that can suggest whether further evaluation by a healthcare professional specializing in autism might be warranted.


The AQ consists of 50 questions, typically presented in a multiple-choice format with four response options per question. The questions cover five domains associated with ASD:

  1. Social skills: Questions related to social interaction, such as enjoyment of parties or difficulty understanding social cues.
  2. Attention to detail: Questions about attention to detail and preference for routines or predictability.
  3. Communication: Questions related to communication style, such as preference for literal language or difficulty understanding jokes.
  4. Imagination: Questions about imaginative thinking and preference for routines or difficulty with change.
  5. Attention switching: Questions about attentional focus and ability to switch attention between tasks or activities.


Each question on the AQ is scored either 0 or 1, depending on whether the characteristic associated with ASD is present or absent. Scores for each domain are totaled, resulting in a maximum possible score of 50. Higher scores indicate a greater number of autistic traits.


  • Typical Adults: In general population samples, typical adults typically score below 20 on the AQ.
  • Higher Scores: Scores above 32 are often considered indicative of a higher likelihood of having clinically significant autistic traits.
  • Clinical Interpretation: While the AQ can suggest the presence of autistic traits, it is not diagnostic. A high score on the AQ may prompt further evaluation by a healthcare professional specializing in autism.


The AQ is widely used in research studies to explore the distribution of autistic traits in different populations, including both neurotypical individuals and those diagnosed with ASD. It has also been used in clinical settings to assist in the initial screening of adults suspected of having ASD.

Criticism and Considerations

  • Self-Report Nature: The AQ relies on self-report, which may introduce bias based on an individual’s self-awareness and willingness to report their own behaviors accurately.
  • Generalization: While the AQ is informative, it does not capture the full complexity of ASD, which can vary widely in its presentation and severity.
  • Cultural and Gender Differences: Some research suggests that cultural factors and gender differences may influence AQ scores, highlighting the need for cautious interpretation across diverse populations.


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